Inmate Flees Provincial Prison in Daring Escape

Police are searching for a 30-year-old inmate who broke out of the Kompong Chhnang Provincial Prison in the early hours of Tuesday morning, officials said Wednesday.

In a daring escape weeks in the making, Ie Tal—who had served just more than half of his five-year sentence for robbery—squeezed through the window of a cell he shared with about 40 other inmates, army-crawled through a vegetable patch and scaled the prison gate before fleeing into the night, according to prison director Pov Vuthy.

“He used a saw to cut through two iron bars. I think about four prisoners planned the escape, they had been cutting since the beginning of the Pchum Ben festival,” he said.

“We didn’t check [the bars] properly, but we can’t check every little thing,” he said, adding that two saws he believed were used to cut through the bars have been found and sent to the provincial police.

Mr. Vuthy said Mr. Tal planned his escape to coincide with the 2 a.m. guard rotation, when three fresh watchmen took over from their colleagues.

Mr. Tal reached the prison gate just as the new guards began their patrol. One spotted Mr. Tal with his flashlight and yelled for him to stop, but the inmate scrambled over the top and ran into the darkness.

“We couldn’t arrest him, because at the time, it was dark and raining,” Mr. Vuthy said, adding that he has informed police in both Kompong Chhnang and Mr. Tal’s home province of Pursat about the jailbreak.

Prak Vuthy, police chief in Kompong Chhnang, said his officers were investigating the escape, but would wait for an arrest warrant from the provincial court to begin searching for the runaway.

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